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12/30: Mentalpod

I'd like to introduce people to The Mental Illness Happy Hour. A wonderful person on my LJ flist pointed me to it the other day (you know who you are! Thank you again) and I'm paying the favor forward.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a podcast "geared towards anyone interested in or affected by depression, addiction and other mental challenges."

Paul Gilmartin, the producer, is a comic, not a doctor, but don't let that put you off: there is zero making fun of mental illness, and not the faintest whiff of sensationalism or voyeurism. He's impeccable about not judging or diagnosing. The most advice he ever gives is to say that support groups and therapy can be helpful.

And yet the tone is wonderfully light and irreverent. Each week he interviews a guest for about an hour--someone who has a mental illness, or who works in a field where mental illness is encountered, or who just has a meaningful story related to trauma, abuse, addiction, shame, healing. Paul is a great questioner and an excellent listener. He lets people tell their story.

Before and after the interview he reads survey responses. There's Shame and Secrets, Happy Moments, Babysitter, I Shouldn't Feel This Way, and several other ongoing surveys on the website. The responses are frank and sometimes uncomfortable, and he reads every single one of them with a perfect blend of detachment and compassion. He doesn't evaluate or categorize. He just reads responses, occasionally offering a comment like "Well, I'm sending you a big hug" or "Thank you for that."

The net effect is to cast light, banish shadows, gently lift the feeling that is alternately "I'm so alone!" and "I'm so uniquely strange!" It has broadened my feeling of belonging--not just to a special group of crazies, but to humankind.

From his About page: Paul’s hope is that the show and this website will give people a place to connect, smile and feel the return of hope. The biggest myth about mental illness is that you are alone and there is no help.

It's good stuff.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 14th, 2013 04:58 am (UTC)
For all that I love audiobooks (and podfic), I'm not a big fan of podcasts, but I'll definitely check this out. Thanks for the rec!
Jun. 14th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
I'm getting a lot of both enjoyment and benefit from it. I hope you enjoy it if you check it out.
Jun. 14th, 2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
It's funny... I'd been seeking out guest appearances of comedians I like and this podcast kept coming up each time and every time I would see the podcast title and think "that is the last thing I need right now." And then I was listening to someone tell a story somewhere else with a sidenote that they'd just told this story with a lot more detail when they were on the Mental Illness Happy Hour so I grudgingly decided to listen to an episode or two. Turns out the podcast was exactly what I needed right now.

Thanks for reccing the show. It's great and it's helpful and it's entertaining (as you said, in a non-sensationalistic or voyeuristic way) and I think many people would appreciate and/or benefit from listening to it. But I probably wasn't going to write an actual post about it so I'm glad you did.
Jun. 14th, 2013 04:59 pm (UTC)
I would seriously not have given it a shot either without your recommendation. But in my case, the "Mental Illness" part was interesting and the "stand up comedian" part was totally off-putting. Funny old world. I'm grateful that I missed that bit of information before commencing download!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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